What Will It Take for Djokovic to be ‘Back’?

So Djokovic has been struggling to reach his former level of dominance ever since losing to Querrey at Wimbledon last year, who by the way defeated Obnoxious Nick 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 in the semis of Acapulco.

As usual, Kyrgios can’t follow through when he defeats a top player. Same as he did when he defeated Nadal and Federer. I guess he didn’t feel like winning. Querrey mustn’t be ‘good’ enough to deserve Kyrgios’ best effort.

To get back to Djokovic, I was wondering what it would take for people to feel like he is ‘back’, and what that means exactly. I mean it’s highly unlikely that he will return to his dominance of 2015.

That was insane dominance which had to end sooner rather than later. And once you lose a couple of matches and lose that edge it can be tricky to get it back. Tennis is a confidence game and winning is a habit.

We have seen Federer and Nadal having the same problems many times and finding confidence again. No player can dominate indefinitely. A tennis career is a series of ups and downs, of peaks and valleys.

I think Djokovic’s graph has already been sloping upwards since the World Tour Finals last year. The Australian Open loss was a surprise to me caused mainly by the change of surface and also by an opponent who was in the zone.

But whatever the circumstances losing is never good for confidence. So in a way, Djokovic had to reset in Acapulco where he got a difficult draw. He did well in the first two rounds but then ran into an unplayable Kyrgios.

So he is struggling to string wins together. I think Djokovic will be back to a great extent when he wins a masters event or a slam. Winning Doha against Murray in the final was a boost but he needs something bigger than a 250.

I think Acapulco was a step in the right direction and he must win either Indian Wells or Miami. He is not in the form of previous years so it will be tough to do the double again but if he can win one of those it will go a long way toward restoring his confidence.

Then there are three more masters coming up during the clay court season before the next slam. If he can pick up one or two more masters there he could be the favorite for the French Open. It’s all about stringing wins together and getting back into the winning habit.

Djokovic has forgotten how to win but the good news for his fans is that he is motivated and driven again. Playing Acapulco was a sign of it. And so was the way he competed in Acapulco. Patience is needed when a player is lacking confidence.

You can’t expect everything to fall into place immediately but you need to keep grinding away. And Djokovic is aware of that. Who knows when he will be back and what that even means. For me, he will officially back when he wins a slam and returns to number one.

Even if that doesn’t happen he already has an incredible legacy in the sport. But I don’t think he is anywhere close to being done. He is too ambitious and driven for that. And I don’t think he is far from coming good now.

Djokovic loves the conditions in Indians Wells and maybe even more so Miami. The slower conditions suit his athleticism and defensive skills. The same goes for the clay courts of Europe. So I am hopeful that Djokovic will regain at least some of his former dominance in the next few months.

If he wins the French Open he would be officially back for me because that would give him the double career slam and put him back in the hunt for number one as Murray has loads of points to defend after that.

  • Murray Wins Dubai, Nadal One Step Closer to Acapulco Title

Congrats to Murray for winning his first Dubai title and bouncing back in the best way after what happened in Melbourne. Today he defeated Verdasco 6-3, 6-2 who was out of his depth in a 500 final.

You have to say that Murray’s draw was pretty weak, though. Especially after the loss of Federer. As opposed to Djokovic it was a cakewalk draw and I’m sure Djokovic would have won the Dubai title with the same draw.

But Djokovic did beat Del Potro who Murray lost his last match to. Then in the other Acapulco semi-final, Nadal defeated Cilic 6-1, 6-2. That is a surprising scoreline. Either Nadal played very well or Cilic was dismal.

Things are looking promising for Nadal because he is easily the favorite against Querrey. The Acapulco title would be another big boost for him after the final in Melbourne.

It just goes to show you that even as much as Nadal has struggled in recent times he can still come back to play good tennis. All the more reason why Djokovic can come back and dominate again.

There are plenty of people writing Djokovic off because there is nothing that they’d like to see more than him being done winning slams and beating their favorites. That is sheer desperation and there is no logical reason to take it seriously.

It is only a question of time…

  • Highlights

Posted in ATP 500, Dubai.


  1. Really? There are many people writing Djokovic off?? That’s insane. I still think this was more of a personal life issue than a tennis issue. His tennis is still fantastic but his head is not yet screwed back on straight. I think the rumors are true and he messed up fidelity wise and unraveled the absolute perfection of life harmony that he too years to put together. There’s really no telling how long it will take him to organize a new equilibrium, but I am absolutely certain that once he does, winning tournaments will immediately return. Unbelievably exciting times right now with pretty much any two players in the top twenty providing a fun match (old guys, young guys, prime guys), but there’s still no real competition for an in form Novak, no exceptions. As fans we just have to hope that he can put it together sooner rather than later.


    Ru-an Reply:

    Well, maybe I read Men’s Tennis Forums a little too often because that place is indeed insane. There is even a thread about Djokovic hitting a Borg-like wall =)) Who knows about the fidelity thing. Could be true so I need to stop giving Jelena a hard time about Djokovic but then again we just don’t know.


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